New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) - While everyone was able to safely escape a fire Saturday at Da Legna restaurant in New Haven, something special was left behind in the rubble.
To those watching the flames rip through the apartments, above the restaurant, it was obvious there would be some major damage. However, once the fire was out and crews started tearing the apartments down they were surprised to find someone's protector.
"All of a sudden a big pit bull sat up in the middle of the debris," said Kevin Plummer, United Cleaning and Restoration. "We grabbed him by the collar and brought him down to the ground. He didn't bark. He didn't growl. He's a good dog."
The pit bull was immediately taken across the street to the animal hospital. News 8 is told his name is Spooky.
News 8 was also introduced to some of Spooky's other family members who survived the fire: another dog named Mona and a cat named Sammy. All three are on oxygen after breathing in hot smoke from the fire.
"It does injure the lungs where they can't process oxygen and they can't breathe as well," said veterinarian Kim MacDonald. "It predisposes them to other problems like pneumonia."
The workers are still amazed they saw Spooky staring at them. The dog was able to survive the fire and frigid weather by hiding in a closet.
"Everything else you can replace, but an animal is like a child," said Plummer.
The workers feel for Spooky's owner who lost their apartment and of course the owner of Da Legna, which has only been open around a month, but they're hoping Spooky will remind them something good always comes out of something bad.
"It just put a nice sunshine on a little bit of a gloomy day," said Pat Deleva, Cherry Hill Restoration.
The State Street neighborhood is rallying around the owner of the apartment, Mike. Not only did he lose everything in the fire, three of his cats did not make it out alive.
Mike was in a car accident on Friday, and in serious condition in the hospital when his apartment caught fire on Saturday.
"He is a really good guy," said Lisa Siedlarz, of New Haven, "He served our country. He has lived here a really long time and to have this happen it is a series of tragic events.
While the animals recover in the vet clinic, Mike is recovering in the hospital. Neighbors are hoping everyone will be released soon.
In the meantime, neighbors are raising money for the vet bill and already have more than $1,000.
"On top of that there are people out there who want to donate items for Mike because he lost everything," said Siedlarz. "We have kitchenware lined up, we need to find out more about clothing size. People are really stepping up for this."
Those interested in making a donation can visit the SoHu Neighborhood Association's website.
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